Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

See other formats


ON  THE CHANGE  OF  REFRANGIBILITY OF LIGHT.
279
from each other at their entrance into the fluid, that is, at the vertical surface of separation of the fluid and the containing vessel, and afterwards still further separated by divergence. Of course each beam must have been made up of a series of cones having their axes diverging from the centre of the lens, and their vertices situated at its focus. The first beam, or that which was produced by light of less refrangibility, consisted of the brighter colours of the spectrum in their natural order. It had a discontinuous, sparkling appearance, and was plainly due merely to motes which were suspended in the fluid. On being viewed from above through a Nicol's prism, it was found to consist chiefly of light polarized in the plane of reflexion. Taken as a whole, it served as a fiducial line to which to refer the position of the second beam, and thereby judge of the refrangibility of the rays by which it was produced.
This second beam was a good deal the brighter of the two. Its colour was a beautiful sky-blue, which was nearly the same throughout, but just about its first border, that is, where it arose from the least refrangible of those rays which were capable of producing it, the colour was less pure. It had a perfectly continuous appearance. When viewed from above through a doubly refracting achromatic prism of quartz, which allowed a direct comparison of the two images, it offered no traces of polarization. It was produced by light polarized in a vertical or horizontal plane as well as by common light, and in that case, as well as in the former, manifested no traces of polarization *.
The short distance that the more refrangible rays were able to penetrate into the fluid might readily be perceived in this experiment, but the second method of observation was not adapted to bring out this part of the phenomenon.
1C. On examining the fluid by the third method, the result was very striking, although of course only what might have been
* These two results, namely, that the blue beam which constitutes the greater part of the light dispersed by a solution of sulphate of quinine is unpolarized, or according to his expression possesses a quaquaversus polarization, and that that still remains the case when the incident light is polarized, have been already announced by Sir David Brewster, who appears to have been led to attend to the polarization of the light from Sir John Herschel's observation, that the blue light arising from epipolic dispersion in a solution of sulphate of quinine was unpolarized. It seemed important however to repeat tbe observation on the blue beam obtained in a state of isolation.
I
M
M